Waties Island Nest Count

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Pleasant Morning & a Definate Depression at Nest 10

We had a cool pleasant morning with just a mist as we headed off the beach.
Nest 10 had a definite depression with two Ghost Crab holes.  No visible tracks.

There were, what appeared to be, Box Jelly Fish along the beach

I did a quick check in my bird book, but was unable to identify the bird we saw on the lower end.  He wasn't bothered by us at all and let us take all the pictures we wanted.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Inventory of Nest 9

This nest was laid between Marker 1 and 2 on Tuesday June 27. A large hole and hatchling tracks were discovered on Thursday, August 24, day 58 of incubation. The nest when originally found  was shallow and on top of a low dune. Today, we dug two and a half feet before finding the shells. But it was a great nest!! 125 eggs laid. 112 hatched, 12 unhatched and one sent for DNA research. 89.6 % hatching success! This mother laid nests in Surfside and North Myrtle Beach in 2011. In 2013 she visited Myrtle Beach and Briarcliff Acres. 2016, she laid her first nest at Briarcliff and then laid three nests on Waties. In a rare event, she has laid four nests this year on Waties. Loggerheads normally do not lay in consecutive years. This is Barnacle Betty!! She has a distinctive drag mark in the middle of her crawl probably due to a barnacle on her plastron (underbelly). This year she has laid Nest 3, 6, 9 and 11!!
Vist Coastal Sea Turtle Club
facebook page for more pictures.
Post by Paulette
Pictures by Leslie (Thank you!)
Digging forever

Students helping


Two undersized empty eggs
Larger than a spacer but not a
regular size egg.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Inventory of Nest 7

Nest 7 was laid on Saturday, June 17 just below marker 6. The nest emerged on day 66 of incubation, Tuesday, August 22. The inventory today revealed 40 hatched eggs and 2 unhatched eggs. !One egg was used for the DNA study. 93 % emergence success rate. A great result! The DNA report on this turtle finds that she has laid five nests on Waties this year. Nest  1, 5, 7, 10 and 12. She nested on Waties in 2011 and in 2015. All her nests are small.
Jingle and the CCU students digging


Egg Count

Another inventory finished

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Nest #9 emerged today.  We counted 11 tracks out, 6 made it to the ocean and 2 walking to the ocean (one very feebly).  Thought it might still be emerging or it emerged last night and the rain wiped out all the tracks except those left on the sand.

The nest itself had one emergence hole and one very large ghost crab hole on an angle which appeared angled right into the nest.  The ghost crab hole was alive with flies.  Our feeble turtle also was covered by flies so we believe s/he was injured by a ghost crab. I tried to whisk them away but they came right back.

Olivia, our resident camper, wanted to see the nest (I think she might have wanted to escape her drenched tent for a while) so we went down with her to see it. We then found one dead in the sand. Also the feeble guy was floundering in the shallow water.  Olivia brought it out into the surf and watched it for a long time.  It was not swimming well.  Olivia said she was going to sit at the nest for a while and watch for any more hatchlings.

PS Olivia just called now and said no other turtles emerged!
PPS Tried to post videos and could not.  Bill took one that captured the cacophony of sound coming from the brush as you went through the Coastal gate this morning.  It was deafening!  

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Tuesday, August 22 Emergence of Nest 7

The Tuesday walkers found Nest 7 had emerged overnight!! Day 66!! This nest was laid on Saturday, June 17 below marker 6. We will inventory it on Friday, August 25.
Pictures by Karen
Post by Paulette
Classic emergence hole!!

Hole right over egg cavity!!
Can you see the hatchling tracks?

A Beautiful sight!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Inventories on Nests 6 & 8

The inventory on Nest 6 was done this morning with the help of members from the C.C.U. Turtle Club.  Also present were some of our walkers from other days as well as visitors and family members.  Nest 6 results:
Nest was 70 days old.
  Due to rain/wind we did not see this nest emerge.
Eggs Hatched: 43
Eggs Unhatched: 40
Eggs lost to Ghost Crabs: 15 (One of these eggs was used for DNA Study.)
Clutch Count: 98 
Hatch Success: 43.8%
Emergence Success: 43.8%
This nest has been plagued by Ghost Crabs right from the start.  When we got to the nest, we had no trouble locating it, there were already two eggs on the surface.  We used one of these eggs for the DNA study.

Nest 8:  Unfortunatelly, we have no pictures for this nest.  Our regular walkers were busy with the nest while we were busy with nest 6.
Again, due to all the rain and wind we have been having on the island, we did not see this nest emerge.  There was never any depression or tracks. The only sign we had were two hatchlings found on two different days.  Both hatchlings were completely developed and without their egg sack.  A sign that they were ready to leave the nest.  As a result, DNR told Karen to check the nest and to determine if it had hatched.
Results:  Nest was 56 days old
Eggs Hatched: 51
Eggs Unhatched: 16
Dead Hatchlings:  1 on the surface, 1 in the nest
Eggs Lost:  1 DNA study; 9 to Ghost Crabs
Clutch Count:  77
Hatch Success: 66.2%
Emergence Success: 53.2%

Thank you Paulette for taking the pictures!

Sea Turtle Club volunteers digging


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Inventory of Nest 5

On Sunday, August 13, Nest 5 had incubated for 70 days without showing signs of
emergence. According to DNR guidelines, the nest may be inventoried at that point.
Robert, Todd and Jiarong dug deep into the sand to find the egg shells. Great news!!
Though a small nest, a good result!! 45 hatched shells and only 3 unhatched eggs. There
were no live or dead hatchlings. 92 % hatching success!! 
Post and Pictures by Paulette

Walkers and spectators

Todd and Robert finish the dig

A very deep hole

Samantha sorts and counts

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Inventory of Nest # 3

Nest # 3 was laid on May 27 and emerged on Day 65, July 31. This nest was
located just below the entrance in the edge of the dunes. It was a shallow
nest plagued by ghost crabs. The turtle who laid this  nest  also laid nests in
2011 at Surfside and North Myrtle Beach-five total. In 2013 she laid one at
Myrtle Beach and four at Briarcliff Acres. In 2016 Briarcliff had one of her
nests and Waties had three!! We hope she has laid more nests on our beach,
and hopefully better ones than this one.
48 hatched and 68 unhatched.
And, on a personal note, a fond farewell to Emily-who will graduate tomorrow
and begin looking for a job with the sea turtles!! The best of luck to a great
volunteer and student!!
Post by Paulette
Pictures by Regena,
Barb and Paulette
Regena captured the sunrise reflecting off the high rises of NMB

The digging begins

A once shallow nest became very deep!

Our guests help

Sorting the eggs

Emily's mom counts the eggs

The sail boat remains on our beach

Karen brought out a lock for our gate!! Thank You!!